Have you heard of the email marketing service MailChimp? If you haven’t, and you subscribe to any company mailing lists, I can pretty much guarantee that you have received at least one email from them in the last month. MailChimp sends over 4 billion emails a month and, most of the time, they come from businesses.
I created a MailChimp account recently for a small daily email I wanted to send out from my personal blog and was pretty overwhelmed. I consider myself a tech-savvy person with basic html knowledge, but it all looked like a bit too much work for a small side-project. My options for creating and sending an email were plain-text and html. If I wanted to send it plain-text, I couldn’t figure out how to add images or links. If I wanted to send using html, I had to choose a crazy involved design (okay, two columns and a photo was a basic option, but still. I didn’t want columns.). I am guessing there were ways to work around both of these little difficulties, but the solutions were not obvious to me.
Then a fellow blogger mentioned TinyLetter. TinyLetter is also an email service and it is run by… surprise, MailChimp! But TinyLetter is to Mailchimp what Tumblr is to WordPress. An easier to use, easier to modify, most-anyone-can-use-it service.
Once you have an account (which is free by the way!), you can set up a signup form with html that can easily be posted on your blog, website, or other form of digital expression. People wanting to subscribe can enter their information using the form and their emails are imported right into your account. You can then organize them by lists and send emails accordingly. Replies can be received and responded to through the service as well.
Composing an email with TinyLetter is super easy, too. There is a simple formatting palette (bold, italics, indents, insert photo, etc.) and auto-save working for you as you go along. Once your email is sent, you can check to see how many subscribers opened the email and how many of them clicked any of the links you provided. Easy feedback to see how you’re doing. Additionally, for readers who are intrigued but not sure they want you coming into their inbox, they can head to your TinyLetter landing page. There they will find a short description of what they’ll be reading about, a link to previous messages, and the option to subscribe if they decide to take the plunge.
TinyLetter is the perfect communication platform for bloggers and writers, people with etsy shops and other independent businesses wanting to send quick updates, and small-business owners wanting to keep things a little more personal. Your amount of subscribers tops-off at three thousand, ensuring things stay personal. At that point, if you have more than three thousand people you absolutely need to keep updated, you should consider hiring a communications director for your obviously-successful enterprise.
One subscriber to my TinyLetter list wrote to tell me that it was nicer than seeing a post on a blogging website, because it was like receiving a personalized letter. If that’s the sentiment you’re going for with the people you’re trying to reach out to in Internet Land, TinyLetter might be the service for you.